Every person who raises their right hand to serve their country does so for a number of personal reasons.
For one family, the Air Force was not only the answer to their needs, but also the beginning of their military family story.
Steve Nutt and his wife, Brittany, decided they were ready for a change.
“I was working multiple jobs, only getting a couple hours of sleep a night,” Steve said. “My wife was teaching, working in a pharmacy and trying to get into physician assistant school. One tax season, we got a tax bill for about $1,200, and we didn’t have anything. We ended up paying it, but we were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a few months straight.”
For the Nutt family, working hard with little payoff was not the way to live. With advice from her uncle, who was a senior master sergeant at the time, the then young 23-year-old Brittany knew the Air Force was the new obstacle for which she had been searching.
“I wanted a change and a new challenge in my life,” Brittany said. “The Air Force offered benefits, a new career field and so many educational aids.”
The couple both enlisted in the Air Force, with Steve graduating from basic military training the week Brittany began her BMT in San Antonio, Texas.
“My (technical) school was (also) in San Antonio, so I would meet her at church on Sundays,” Steve said. “I would check up on her and tell her what she was going to be doing during training each week.”
Steve went on to become a services specialist, while Brittany became a flight medicine technician.
After two years into her first four-year enlistment, Brittany came across the opportunity to earn her commission to become a nurse practitioner and enhance her growth in the medical field.
With a chance to further her career, many things had to be taken into consideration to ensure their home life was stable. Brittany said they mutually decided the best decision for their family was for Steve to get out, while she went into the Airman Education and Commissioning Program for nursing.
Steve benefitted from his experience in services by working many miscellaneous jobs, such as mortuary affairs and accounting. He eventually retired as a deputy sheriff out of the Solano County Sheriff’s Office in Fairfield, California.
“I loved being in the Air Force and tried to excel in every aspect,” Steve said. “The Air Force and being in the services career field allowed more flexibility for me in the workforce (in the civilian sector). Moving around, there have always been services jobs available, but the best job I ever had was being a deputy sheriff. I was able to get that job because I had military experience.”
Because of the support of the Air Force, Steve and Brittany agreed it enabled them to progress in their careers, in and out of the military.
“I knew I wanted to do something with nursing, so I kept pursuing my dreams,” she said. “My husband mentioned the physician assistant program. It allowed me to become a nurse practitioner, which is what I wanted to do.”
Today, Brittany is now Maj. Brittany Nutt. With 19 years of service, she has earned a second bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and, in just 22 months alone, a doctorate. She is currently serving as a women’s health nurse practitioner with the 86th Medical Squadron.
The Nutts’ decisions not only shaped their lives but, unknowingly, also their children’s lives and choices.
With the military influence from her parents, their eldest, Kiersten, decided to follow in their footsteps and join the Air Force as well.
“Being a recent high school graduate, my parents and I had done a lot of talking about my future,” Kiersten said. “Enlisting in the military is a good way to dip my toes into the pool of adulthood. Aside from that, it’s a very stable career path and no matter what field I go into, I know I’ll be well-trained.”
Kiersten said a benefit to growing up in a military family was learning adaptability to new environments due to moving every two to three years. In 12 years of schooling, Kiersten enrolled in nine different schools and learned to develop friendships wherever she went.
Kiersten decided to follow the path her parents had set because of the vast educational opportunities the Air Force affords.
Airmen are not always guaranteed their first career choice upon their enlistment. Kiersten faced a similar circumstance that did not align with her initial choice, though she said she keeps a positive attitude for her future career.
“I wanted to go more into the direction of the (American Forces Network), but I signed a contract for (radio frequency) transmissions,” Kiersten said. “I’m the type of person who sees the glass as 100 percent full.”
Brittany had the opportunity to swear in her daughter for the first time before she left for BMT. The Nutts have set an example, allowing Kiersten to follow their military legacy and add her own chapters to her family’s military story.